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Mattaponi River in Virginia

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

This is a description of my canoe trip on the Mattaponi River in Virginia. The trip was from Reedy Mill to Aylett. This trip is approximately 36 miles. This trip took about 11 hours and 15 minutes.

I slid my canoe down the bank while holding the stern rope and then loaded my gear. The river is about forty feet wide at this point with a slow moving current. I started paddling down stream and enjoyed nice scenery. The river was lined sometimes with high banks that looked like some sort of clay type rock, other times it was a bottom land forest with low muddy banks. I traveled down the river enjoying the slow current. Occasionally I would have to portage over some downed trees crossing the river. I did not see this as a nuisance. It gave me a chance to stretch my legs and see the scenery from a different vantage point. There were many trees to portage over and around on this trip. Most were in the upper third. I would estimate about 30 trees.

Also, the river bottom was changing. Sometimes it was deep and muddy, other times it was shallow and filled with reddish sand with small gravel. When the river was shallow it became different. The river current was faster and had a few small riffles. There were other sections where there were nice sandy banks and sand bars. This was most enjoyable as it keep the trip interesting. As I approached the town of Aylett the river becomes much more docile and open. This is due to the river being affected by some tidal influence. The river is still fresh but the tide does affect the river.

What makes this a great river to paddle is the limited intrusion of man and the wild life.


I was paddling a Mad River Liberty solo canoe.


Take US 360 north of Richmond approximately 25 miles to the town of Aylett. Turn left on Rt 600. Travel west approximately 18 miles and turn right on Rt 601. Travel about 5 miles and you will come to bridge across the Mattaponi. This is Reedy Mill.


Reedy Mill: The launch site at Reedy Mill is small and rural there is steep muddy banks about four feet high that impede an easy launch into the river.


The maps for this trip are USGS quads: Penola, Sparta, Beulahville, and Aylett Virginia.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location